Thursday, February 11, 2010

AMERICAN PSYCHO is a work of prophecy

look at this ridiculous thing
Mary Harron's AMERICAN PSYCHO is a whole lot of things: razor-sharp satire, ridiculous bloodfest, a film with a better soundtrack than DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. It is also (and perhaps this is true of the book, although I refuse to read it again) an incisive harbinger of the downturn of modern life. Not in the blood and flames way, but more in these ways:

AMERICAN PSYCHO rightfully mocks the pretentiousness of "sophistication in everything" and it's especially notable when diners are presented with plates that look like lithograph surgery. It's part of the film's caustic approach to the flighty eighties, but fast forward twenty years and this kind of thing is de rigueur in every hovel with a satellite dish and access to Food Network. Food, which was once a rare commodity that occupied most of everyone's day, is now not worth eating if it is not pretty enough.

Patrick Bateman is mocked for analyzing the work of artistic luminaries like Whitney Houston and Huey Lewis, another example of the film throwing darts at put-on airs. And YET, NOW we have article after article on blogs obsessing over the ride. disco. stick.symbolism of the compositions in Lady Gaga videos. AND blogs that labor over horror and exploitation films like they're goddamn Gravity's Rainbow. Oh my god...

I MIGHT talk more about PSYCHO down the road, as it is a really interesting and ambitious film. It just struck me as funny that so much of the finger-pointing at a distant era could easily be applied to the way we live now. And people still do cocaine too, can you believe it?

1 comment:

April said...

Love the movie and book.

Both have their bad points (the book has the tedium of his obsessive-compulsive disorder), but over-all are solid pieces of work.